A US Navy Pilot’s Comments on the Spitfire and the Seafire
Flown from the decks of aircraft carriers during the Second World War and the Korean War, the Seafire was the Royal Navy’s version of the Spitfire.
Over 2,300 Seafires were produced for the Fleet Air Arm, and in 1943 United States Navy pilot Corky Meyer had the chance to fly one of them.
Describing the aircraft’s performance Corky wrote: “Without argument, the Spitfire/Seafire configuration is probably the most beautiful fighter ever to emerge from a drawing board. Its elliptical wing and long slim fuselage are visually most delightful, and its flight characteristics equal its aerodynamic beauty.
“The Seafire had such delightful upright flying qualities that knowing it had an inverted fuel and oil system, I decided to try inverted figure 8s. They were as easy as pie… I have never enjoyed a flight more. It was clear to see how a few exhausted, hastily trained Battle of Britain pilots flying Spitfires were able to fight off Hitler’s hordes for so long and so successfully.”
He concluded by saying that while the carrier based Wildcat, Hellcat and Corsair fighters were workhorses “the Seafire was a dashing stallion”.
Photograph: Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]